AEW DARK: March 2, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 77 (How Many Big Shows Can We Build To At The Same Time?), March 2, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz as we’re ready for a big time crossover Dynamite and a Pay-Per-View Revolution!

TONIGHT! SCU continue their “get gold or die trying” story as they face the team they didn’t beat in the three-team tag last week, the Sydal Brothers! Red Velvet prepares for her huge tag match as she teams with KiLynn King to take on Ivelisse and Diamante!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Someone’s getting their first win as Aaron Solow teams with Lee Johnson to face Chris Peaks and Louie Valle! Stu Grayson goes at it with JD Drake! JJ Garrett, off his impressive performance last week, gets a return match – this time against Max Caster! The Hybrid2 look to rebound as they face The Infantry of Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo! Fuego Del Sol and Jon Cruz look for their first wins against Top Flight!

PLUS! Chuck Taylor, Preston Vance, Orange Cassidy, Abadon, Bear Country, Gunn Club, and the unorthodox Dark Order crew of Evil Uno, Alan Angels, and Colt Cabana!

Opening match: Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow (w/Arn Anderson) (0-4) vs. Chris Peaks and Louis Valle (0-1). The fact Anderson’s here is a big boost to Team Nightmare. I don’t expect any run-in from Ryan Nemeth, Peter Avalon, or Cezar Bononi, even though that was a story with Aaron Solow last week. Despite not being in the intro, Anthony Ogogo joins us.

Solow and Valle start. Solow works the arm, turning a reversal into a headlock takedown. Headscissors by Valle, but Solow escapes only to get caught in a rear waistlock. Solow reverses and gets another headlock takedown, blocking the headscissors this time and pulling him up into a straight armlock. Johnson in to drop an axhandle on the arm and tag Solow back in to do the same thing. Now Johnson returns, and the Young Nightmares with a double back elbow, getting Johnson one. Solow returns, and a slam by Johnson leads to a Solow kneedrop for two.

Valle with a knee to stop the arm control, and Peaks tags in and runs in to an armdrag and twist. Peaks up to whip Solow into a knee from Valle, allowing Peaks to take over with uppercuts. Solow throws out Peaks, but Valle tags himself in and gets a double-stomp on Solow (who was leaned out of the ring to get at Peaks). Valle goes ground and pound, then bites Solow’s wrist. Solow angrily fights back, but a headbutt stops him and Valle gets a suplex for one.

Peaks tags in, stomping away on Solow and bringing Valle back for a double whip. Solow sends a charging Peaks out of the ring, and Valle can’t stop the hot tag as Johnson gets clotheslines and a dropkick. Solow cuts Peaks off with a flying jalapeno, and the Blue Thunder Bomb ends Peaks at 5:02. FIRST WIN ALERT! Excalibur notices that as soon as the bomb hit, Arn knew his team was winning and walked to the ring. Pretty good opener. **1/4

SUNDAY! REVOLUTION! Cage/Starks vs Sting/Allin! Eight teams in the Tag Team Rumble (Bear Country, Uno/Stu, Reynolds/Silver, Butcher/Blade, Top Flight, Private Party, Proud and Powerful, and Wikipedia says there’s one more)! Young Bucks defend against MJF and Jericho! Matt Hardy and Adam Page, with everyone’s profits on the line! Miro/Sabian vs Taylor/Cassidy! Penta, Archer, Scorpio, Cody, and two more look for a TNT title shot in a ladder match! Hikaru Shida faces either Nyla Rose or Ryo Mizunami! And in a deathmatch, it’s Kenny Omega vs Jon Moxley!

Ivelisse and Diamante (4-0) vs. Red Velvet and KiLynn King (first time teaming). Man, they’re front-loading this one, aren’t they? A little intrigue in this one, as KiLynn King is low person and most likely to lose, but Red Velvet needs the momentum going into her high-profile match tomorrow. Note: all records are for 2021.

Massive staredown to start between King and Diamante, who wants Velvet and shoves King aside. King obliges, and Velvet ducks and dodges Diamante before Diamante gets a single-leg and everyone runs in to make sure no one interferes. We go International~!, with Velvet finishing on a leg lariat. Diamante frustratedly tags in Ivelisse, and the two knuckle up with Ivelisse getting a shot to the throat. Velvet goes to the arm and brings King in to keep control. Velvet returns to drop the axhandle on the arm, and then King returns as Ivelisse has had her arm in someone else’s grip the whole time.

King with a hiptoss, then an assisted splash by Velvet gets one. King back in and Velvet whips Ivelisse into a high angle slam. King is ready to end it, catches an Ivelisse kick and getting an inside sweep, but falling into a Hell’s Gate variant. King looks to powerbomb out of it, but Ivelisse goes over the ropes to make it a Hangman’s triangle. Ivelisse and Diamante with a Hotshot to take control, and Ivelisse stomps a mudhole in King before walking it dry. Diamante does the same, adding a hesitation dropkick in the corner, and Ivelisse comes in to kick the weak arm before getting a double wristlock. King tries to slam Ivelisse out of it, but Ivelisse rolls through to keep arm control and brings in Diamante for a Divorce Court.

Ivelisse with a Disarmer as Diamante kicks the shoulder. Ivelisse with a thrust kick for two. Ivelisse with a keylock, but King tries to elbow out only to be caught in an armbar sleeper. King backs Ivelisse into the corner, but can’t shake her until she gets a snapmare. Ivelisse runs into a roundhouse kick and lariat for the double-down. Hot tag Velvet, and she gets a Thesz Press on Diamante before knocking off Ivelisse. Diamante and Velvet stare down and it’s a slugfest, with Velvet rocking Diamante into the ropes before landing double knees and a moonsault (in theory) for two, Ivelisse saves. Velvet cuts off the tag but gets nailed with an enzuigiri, and Ivelisse enters to get a double knee strike… but Velvet ducks away. Diamante is disposed of, so Ivelisse gets a butterfly guillotine DDT on Velvet, King saves. It’s BONZO GONZO as Diamante and King fall out of the ring, so Velvet with a spinning hook kick and Just Desserts for the upset win at 7:09! Moonsault overshooting aside, this was an incredible performance with two ring generals making two rookies look great. **1/2

Cody! Shaq! Tomorrow night!

Top Flight (Darius and Daunte Martin) (3-0) (#5 team) vs. Fuego Del Sol and Jon Cruz (first time teaming). Excalibur congratulates the Martin Brothers on making the Top 5. The Martins are in the Tag Rumble.

Fuego and Darius start with a Code of Honor. Lockup, and Fuego with a waistlock with Darius changing it to an armlock. Fuego into a headlock, and they exchange shoulderblocks. Darius cartwheels over Fuego and gets an O’Connor Roll (eventually) for one, but Darius keeps up top with a side headlock. Fuego with headscissors and his own headlock, but Darius gets out of that and both men get cradles for two-counts before Darius gets a dropkick some 65 seconds in, just so you know how fast they’re going.

Daunte with a Miz-line and suplex by Darius, and Daunte gets a tope atomico for two. Daunte to the arm as Ogogo compares the opening moments to the Derby, and Fuego escapes only to get caught with a sunset flip. Cruz tags himself in to stop it and, after a criss-cross, Daunte with a handstand handscissors and dropkick to Cruz. Cruz throws Daunte into the corner and gets a gamengiri and Hennig neck snap for two. Fuego back in, and he and Daunte slug it out, ending with Fuego getting the Kitchen Sink, a cartwheel armdrag, and a standing shooting star press for two. Cruz returns, and Daunte escapes a double back suplex and throws the two together.

Hot tag Darius, and cross chops to Cruz as he getting a running right on Fuego. He spins around Cruz to send him into the ropes, and a C-4 gets two. Daunte returns, but Cruz elbows away Darius and tosses Daunte into next week. Fuego tags in and monkey flips Cruz into a rana from Cruz, who follows with a tope suicida onto Daunte. Who the hell’s legal?? Fuego now goes up top and gets a corkscrew tornillo onto both Martins! Daunte is tossed in, and Fuego leaps off the top and catches Daunte, but Darius tags in to stop the TORNADO DDT OF DOOM, and Daunte with an uppercut and Broken Arrow on Fuego. Darius picks Fuego up, and an assisted over-the-shoulder toss into a bulldog gets the pin on Fuego at 5:35. WHEW. *** Ogogo says their finisher is called the Ice Breaker.

Gunn Club (Austin, Billy, Colton) (2-0) vs. Tony Vega, Angel Fashion, and Aaron Frye (first time teaming). Okay, I think we can save the snowflakes for a different match. Billy goes to pose in the spotlight, leaving his kids hanging. They may need to co-ordinate their entrances. Of course Aubrey Edwards is refereeing the Gunns – I don’t think anyone else has.

Austin and Frye start. Austin goes to the arm, but Frye with a waistlock into a headlock. Austin can’t escape on first try, but second time he does to get a standing armbar. Frye gives a clean break before sucker-punching Austin, who goes up and over (on the second time of asking) and trips Frye into a facebuster. Fashion in, and he gets ole’d into the corner, allowing uppercuts from Austin and the Slam Dunk from Colton. Running neckbreaker by Colton gets two. Colton goes to the arm, so Fashion goes to the eyes and chops Colton. Vega in, but Colton with a stiff right and he brings in Austin. Gunn Club with a triple-team sequence getting Austin one. Vega elbows out of a charge and drop toeholds Austin into the ropes, where Frye gets a cheapshot before Vega lands a lariat.

Frye in, and he stomps down Austin. A right hand floors Austin, and Vega returns to punch into an open Austin. He goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY and brings in Fashion, who stops the tag and whips Austin back into the heel corner. Vega returns, and after telling the Gunns to watch this, picks up Austin for a slam. It gets one. Vega’s blind charge eats boot and Austin clears out, getting the diving hot tag to Billy. Right hands for everyone and Frye is dumped, then a tilt-a-whirl slam to Vega. Avalanche on Fashion and it’s Make You Famous for two, Frye saves. Austin drags Frye outside and throws him into the barricade, leaving Fashion and Billy. Fashion stops a back body drop, but he runs into 3:10 to Yuma and Billy pins him at 6:11. As Scott Keith once said, Billy sticks out like a sore ass on this show. 1/2*

Abadon (7-2 career) vs. Renee Michelle (0-1). Abadon is a weird case, where her character-first wrestling style would fit better in WWE – you’re telling me she wouldn’t be great in Alexa Bliss’ role? – but I don’t trust Vince with a 10-foot pole not to screw this up.

Renee stares in confusion at Abadon as the bell rings and tries to escape, but Abadon slugs her to the floor. Thesz Press off the apron and she goes ground and pound on Renee. Back in, Renee tries a knee strike to the face, but Abadon no-sells. Renee kicks the leg out of her leg and drops clubbing elbows, only to run into a lariat. Abadon throws Renee by the ears halfway across the ring, following with double knees in the corner. She picks up a mortified Renee, but Renee escapes a butterfly and slugs Abadon… who keeps her death grip on and tackles down Renee. Cemetery Drive ends it at 2:32. 1/4* Excalibur: “I don’t know if Abadon can speak, but I want her nowhere near this desk.”

Get ready for Dynamite at the Crossroads! Featuring SHAQ!

JD Drake (0-1) vs. Stu Grayson (25-8 overall). Drake gets his own entrance again, but no video wall. Drake debuted last week, when he and Eddie Kingston almost murdered each other. Drake, of course, is a former EVOLVE tag champion, back when that company wasn’t explicitly a WWE subsidiary. According to Excalibur, Brodie Jr is the official leader of the Dark Order as everyone comes out with Grayson.

Lockup, and Drake gets a headlock as we go International~!, ending with a Grayson dropkick and big chop… that Drake no-sells. Grayson adds more shots and tries to whip Drake, who blocks it and eats more strikes until he chops Grayson back. Grayson now laughs at the strength of Drake and the two agree to a gentleman’s brawl. Grayson gets Drake in the corner and both men take turns boxing each other in the gut until Grayson offers a clean break. He sidesteps Drake to the apron and legsweeps him, getting a soccer kick and tope atomico to the outside. Dark Order salute as both men’s chests are pretty darn red, but Drake launches Grayson into the ropes from the outside and smokes him on the rebound with a right.

Back in, senton gets one. Soccer kick by Drake and he picks Grayson up, getting a snapmare and some knees to the back. Standing twist chinlock, but Grayson elbows out and tries the uranage. Drake keeps him weight down and elbows out, getting a cross chop that wakes Grayson up. A chop further gets Grayson’s attention as he slugs down Drake, then catches him in the uranage. Soccer kick and kneedrop as Drake is in the corner, and Grayson with a spear in the corner and twisting uppercut off the ropes. Drake goes up-and-over in the corner and gets an overhead suplex that sends Grayson corner to corner. Diving leg lariat off the middle rope by Drake gets a VERY close two.

Drake goes back up, but Grayson goes to the apron to stop him and springboards in with a Frankensteiner. Grayson back up top, but the 450 is avoided as Grayson rolls through only to run into a Claymore from Drake. Cannonball airballs in the corner, though, and Grayson with a Tornado DDT off the middle rope and running knee strike. Grayson picks Drake up (!!), and Nightfall wins at 5:41. JD Drake is someone who I don’t think would work well with everyone, but if you get someone who can do strong style or a slugfest, he’s incredible. Grayson meshes really well. **1/4

The Acclaimed are doing the Homeboy Shopping Network routine, selling Dark Order Kool-Aid… which turns a random person into #100 (10’s identical twin)… and a complete loser. And into the battle rap on 10. I can’t really summarize it other than: it’s great and you need to listen to it. “He’s a guy named 10 but he couldn’t draw a dime.”

Bear Country (Bear Boulder and Bear Bronson) (2-0) vs. M’Badu and Baron Black (first time teaming). Oh, we got some BEEF up in here. M’Badu is a Nigerian hoss, and Baron Black is of course a big lad with technique. And then there’s Bear Country, who add up to 600 pounds of mountain man.

Bronson and Black start. Black goes for a waistlock, with Bronson getting a go-behind. Black takes the arm, so Bronson with a back elbow to floor Black, then a slam. Elbowdrop gets one. Boulder in, and he clubs down Black and gets shoulderblocks while maintaining arm control. Bronson back in as Boulder keeps the arm open, and Bronson slugs away. A chop by Black hurts him more than Bronson, who mugs Black in the corner before cutting off a charging M’Badu. Black takes a shot, but it does nothing as Bronson knocks him to the outside. Everyone goes to the apron, but Black drops Bronson arm-first on the apron and M’Badu adds a clothesline as Boulder protests in the ring. Back in, Black wraps Bronson’s arm around the ringpost. He then does a hammerlock crossface, with the post’s assistance, to wear down Bronson. Back in, it gets two.

Right hand by Black, and M’Badu is in to keep up the offense. A slugfest breaks out, but Bronson’s arm won’t let him do a whip and M’Badu gets a flying tackle for two. WRESTLING! M’Badu with a Stinger Splash, and he sends Black in for a running chop. Black sends Bronson back, and M’Badu gets a side suplex for one… oh, wait, Black’s legal… another one. Excalibur chalks it up to team inexperience. Black with a cobra twist, keeping Bronson from getting the tag. Armbreaker gets two. Psychology? In a hoss fight?

THE STRAPS COME DOWN on Black and he does an arm twist and chops as Bronson gets more annoyed. Cradle back suplex by Bronson leads to a double-down, and it’s hot tag Boulder. He runs everyone over and stops the boots before getting clotheslines in the corner. Hammer Throw and BACK body drop (.8 Warlord) follow. He ends M’Badu into Black and does a double avalanche on them before picking M’Badu up, catching Black, and getting a Samoan Drop and fallaway slam at the same time!

Boulder drags Black to the corner, but the moonsault airballs. M’Badu off the top with a diving clothesline on Boulder, into a Backstabber by Black, Bronson saves with a senton and knocks M’Badu away. Bronson with a tope (!!!) on M’Badu (Taz: “Impressive but they don’t need to do that! They need a good coach!”), and the Totem Splash finishes Black at 7:38. **1/4 But during the replays, Butcher and Blade race to the ring and decimate Bear Country (Blade using a chair on Boulder) as Bunny laughs at them. They trap Bronson’s arm against the barricade with a chair, and Bunny kicks the chair. Are Bear Country out of the tag team Casino Rumble on Sunday?

Evil Uno, Alan Angels, and Colt Cabana (w/Dark Order) vs. Levy Shapiro, John Skyler, and Ryzin. As with before, the entire Dark Order, including Brodie Jr, join them for the entrance. Jr stars at ringside for the match. Both teams are teaming for the first time.

Colt and Skyler start. Colt with a hammerlock into a headlock takedown, then spins around to an armlock and twist. Skyler with a headbutt to the gut to break and an uppercut, but Colt with a sunset flip try. Skyler rolls through, and Colt ducks a leg lariat before nailing a double chop (which even impresses himself). Uno in now, and he drops the axhandle on Skyler’s arm. Chops in the ropes, but Skyler again stops momentum off a whip and Shapiro in with an elbowdrop. Uno controls with a headlock, with Shapiro reversing, and Uno wins a tackle battle before getting a Manhattan Drop (Colt pulls Jr out of the way on stage just to be safe).

Angels in with a big chop on Shapiro, then a FIVE-punch countalong. He backflips into a dropkick on Shapiro for two. Colt in, and we get a double-chop after some arm wringers, leading to a big elbowdrop by Colt. Colt bounces Shapiro around in the corner before bringing an antsy Uno in with a jumping back elbow. Skyler and Ryzin protest, so the Dark Order gang up on Shapiro in the corner. Uno bashes Shapiro in the corner and chops away before getting his own Bionic Elbow. Charge eats elbow, then another eats boot, and Shapiro gets a ropewalk fistdrop.

Hot (?) tag to Skyler, but Angels is also in and cleans house. Enzuigiri to Skyler, drop toehold into the ropes on Shapiro, and Colt holds him in place for an Angels crossbody. Angels catches Ryzin off the apron with a uranage and he drops Skyler, then gets a middle rope frog splash, Shapiro saves. Shapiro tries to toss Angels but gets dumped, but Skyler with a SUPERKICK to stop Angels. Uno and a very dazed Ryzin are tagged in, but Colt throws Ryzin into Uno’s knees, and it’s the Wing Snapper into the spinning Flatliner by Uno for the pin at 6:16. Brodie Jr tries to do the Hulkamania shirt rip, but, well, he’s still 8 years old. It’ll come, kid, don’t worry. 3/4*

Young Bucks book ad.

Max Caster (12-6) vs. JJ Garrett (0-1). Garrett looked pretty good against QT Marshall last week. Meanwhile, Caster has this to say: “Hey, nice mullet – what is this, the 80s?” “You look like a punk Brian Pillman.” “Lookin’ like a girl, writin’ in your diary.” And more. JJ Garrett is the Iowa wrestler that looks like mini-80s Scott Steiner.

Garrett with a fireman’s carry try, but instead he controls Caster with a front facelock. Caster makes the ropes and looks at him like he’s surprised. Another knucklelock, and this time Caster kicks Garrett and bows. Kneedrop misses, though, and Garrett with a running flying elbow to daze Caster. Blind charge misses for both men, and Garrett with an Area Code in the corner. Double jump moonsault try, but Garrett lands on his feet with a corner spear. A second run sees Caster armdrag him, and Caster works the arm. Caster with a hammerlock deathlock drop, then he goes CLUBBERIN, TONY. Garrett gets separation with a jawjacker, only for Caster to turn a headlock into a running neckbreaker for two.

Caster messes with Garrett’s face, then gets a back elbow grind while working the arm. Garrett armdrags out of it and gets a headlock, into a hammerlock, and another headlock. Caster just knocks Garrewtt down and gets a keylock, sitting on Garrett’s back as he holds it. Garrett backs into the ropes. Caster stomps the back of Garrett and kicks away, getting a snapmare as the kneedrop hits this time. Caster puts Garrett up top and follows, but Garrett shoves him down off a superplex try. Caster leaps back up to try again, but Garrett with a Hotshot as he drops to the apron. Double jump moonsault by Garrett and he’s firing up with forearms.

Caster stops a cross-corner whip by attacking the arm, but Garrett goes up and over and onto Caster. Running cannonball senton by Garrett and an Oklahoma Roll gets two (though the weight distribution was off). Bowens tosses the boombox in, so the ref disposes of it, allowing Caster a low blow and brainbuster. Savage Elbow (Mic Drop) ends it at 6:11. Garrett sold well and has good stuff. Keep him around. ** Caster celebrates by playing the boombox like it’s a violin.

The Infantry (Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo) (0-2) vs. Hybrid2 (Jack Evans and Angelico) (0-1 in 2021). Note that this name for Dean/Bravo is unofficial, but Excalibur mentioned it last week. Dean and Bravo now have matching fatigue tights. Excalibur asks Ogogo about the Angelico dance, leading Ogogo to drop that he did Dancing with the Stars UK much to their surprise.

Angelico and Bravo start. Angelico works the arm, so Bravo reverses with a kip up. Angelico goes through Bravo’s arms and gets a front facelock into his own armlock, but Bravo with a twist to break Angelico’s grip and reverse. Angelico with a drop toehold and a floatover into a ground headlock, turning it into an armdrag. WRESTLING! Bravo criss-crosses with Angelico but misses a dropkick, much to TH2’s amusement. Dean in with Evans, and they exchange waistlocks until Evans gets a drop toehold. Dean escapes to a top wristlock, but Evans gets up and reverses. Dean cartwheels out of it (almost) to reverse, then sweeps out Evans trying the same thing.

He ducks under Evans and gets an American armdrag, then a Japanese one, then an enzuigiri. Bravo returns, getting a dropdown/dropkick combo for two. Ogogo: “Should’ve covered him sooner.” Evans flings Bravo into the TH2 corner and stumbles into the ref, allowing Angelico to rake the eyes. Angelico in, and he swings and misses on Dean, who charges in – and it’s a plan as the ref gets rid of Dean, allowing TH2 a Mutalock/PK combo for two. Angelico slugs Bravo down and gets a roundhouse kick to the gut. He cuts off a comeback with a knee strike, but a roundhouse kick misses and Bravo escapes to bring in Dean.

Clotheslines to everyone, then an enzuigiri to Angelico. Running dropkick in the corner to Angelico, then Evans, then Angelico again, and the Salute DDT gets two. Bravo returns, and a Shiranui / Superfly Splash combo nearly wins it, but Evans saves. Evans blocks a dump attempt and avoids Dean’s charge, getting a 540 kick on him on the apron. Back in, Angelico with a Pele after a double-stomp attempt by Bravo, and it’s the Navarro Death Roll to get the tap from Bravo at 6:22. Guys, I think this Dean/Bravo team may be something to watch out for in the future. *3/4

Orange Cassidy (16-9-1 overall) vs. Steven Stetson (0-1). Chuck Taylor accompanies Cassidy. Stetson, despite looking like a cowboy, is from Sparta, NJ, which is near NEW YORK CITY!? (get a rope)

Cassidy ducks a lockup try and takes Stetson’s Stetson off, wearing it. Stetson can’t get it back, so Cassidy sweeps the legs and does a Sharpshooter into a Deathlock – with hat, shades, and hands in pockets because why not. Stetson makes the ropes forcing the ref to break, then gets his hat back. Stetson turns around into a dropkick as Cassidy kips up five or so times in a row (the ref returns his sunglasses). Beach Break try, but Stetson escapes and gets a big boot (now the shades are off). Stetson with an elbow on a bent-over Cassidy against the ropes, then another one on another apron as he yells his frustration at Cassidy. Running elbow in the corner, but Cassidy ducks a lariat and gets the Orange Punch and Beach Break for the pin at 2:29. Nothing to see here. 1/2*

Wrestling With the Week ad.

Chuck Taylor (28-18 career) vs. VSK. Taylor goes to the back just to come out again apparently. VSK gets no intro until AFTER the bell. Taylor lets him have it.

Lockup, and Taylor gives a clean break in the corner. Taylor with a kick and he sends VSK into the corner, where he stomps a mudhole but doesn’t hop it dry. VSK cuts off a charge with a back elbow and spinning uppercut before getting a backbreaker, slam, and splash for two in rapid fire. Uppercut, but he walks into Sole Food and a big boot. Suplex gets one. Straight right from Taylor, and he sends VSK into the corner. Hammer Throw and he drags VSK up by the hair. VSK punches back, but Taylor with a knee. VSK blocks a second Sole Food try and gets a SUPERKICK and enzuigiri. Taylor sends VSK to the apron, where VSK returns with a swinging DDT. Taylor bails, so VSK with a tope suicida.

Back in, VSK charges into a flying knee from Taylor and standing uranage. Falcon Arrow gets two, much to Taylor’s surprise. Taylor puts VSK on the top rope backwards and looks for Splash Mountain, but VSK escapes and cradles him for two. Piledriver by Taylor cuts off all momentum, then a second one gets the pin at 4:15. Taylor seems disgusted with himself for taking so long. If the story is that this was almost a “trap game” for Taylor, good on them, but the announcers didn’t pick it up. * Cassidy returns to (barely) raise Taylor’s hand.

Preston Vance (w/Dark Order) (3-0) vs. Daniel Joseph (0-1). Everyone comes out with Vance again, as Brodie Jr… is back on commentary. OH HERE WE GO! “Great to see you!” “Shut up, Excalibur! Taz, you can talk.”

Lockup, and Vance throws him down. A second lockup, and we go International~!, with Joseph’s armdrag blocked and reversed. Vance clotheslines Joseph to the outside, where Vance heads to commentary and high-fives Brodie Jr before throwing Joseph back in. Brodie Jr won’t even let Excalibur read copy. Back in, Vance slugs Joseph down and throws him around, but Joseph escapes a fireman’s carry only to run into a BACK body drop. Charge eats boot, but Vance catches Joseph in a pump kick. Spinebuster follows, then the pickup powerbomb ends it as Vance with one foot at 2:22. I know all of you aren’t watching for the match when Brodie Jr’s on commentary, but Vance looks like he’s ready for prime time on Sunday. 1/4* Brodie Jr climbs Vance’s shoulders to pose post-match.

Main event: Sydal Brothers (Matt and Mike) (0-2) vs. SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (#4 team) (4-0). Now, as always, if SCU fails to win, they have agreed to break up. Excalibur says he thinks their self-imposed pressure may be leading a career renaissance.

Matt and Frankie start. Lockup, and Frankie with a hammerlock, reversed by Matt. Frankie can’t pick the ankle and Matt won’t let him reach the ropes, so Frankie leverages Matt out of the ring where Matt lands on his feet. Round 2, and Frankie gets a headlock before being shoved off into a series of armdrags. Crucifix pin by Matt gets two. Mike in, and the Sydals get a guillotine foot stomp and flying mare / moonsault combo for two. Frankie goes up and over Matt, then catches him with a kneelift and clothesline.

Daniels in, and he gets a leg lariat on Mike. It gets one. Commentary compares SCU’s approach to Top Flight’s as Daniels gets a tilt-a-whirl try on Mike, who lands on his feet and gets a dropkick. Matt in, and it’s a drop toehold/sliding kick combo. Matt with a fiserhman’s brainbuster for two. Mike in, and he hooks Daniels for a suplex try. Daniels blocks and fights out, getting a back elbow to bring Frankie in, but Mike chops him like crazy. Frankie with a back elbow off the ropes, and Daniels tags himself in as SCU go high/low. Slam by Daniels and Power Drive elbow gets two. Frankie in now, and he gets a flip neckbreaker for two.

Big chop to Mike, then another in the corner, but he fires back with chops of his own to Frankie. Mike blocks a hiptoss, but Frankie ducks a lariat to get a German suplex with bridge for two. Daniels brought in, and he clotheslines down Mike before flipping Frankie onto Mike. Lionsault by Daniels gets two. Forearm to Mike, then another on a run in the corner, but Mike tries to go up and over. Daniels catches him, so Mike uses the momentum to get a swinging DDT on Daniels. Hot tag Matt, and kicks go flying to Frankie. Step-up rana and backflip armdrag sets up a leg lariat for two. Frankie with a chop, but Matt catches a Slice on Frankie and jawbreaker on a charging Daniels at once. Standing corkscrew moonsault gets two. Double Russian legsweep by the Sydals, and Matt with a ground cobra clutch.

Frankie can’t find Daniels, but he walks up the corner to reverse for two. Matt with a flying knee andhe brings in Mike, who gets a Matrix dodge into an enzuigiri for two. Frankie with the slingshot into a cutter, Matt saves and everyone’s in. Daniels eats a knee and roundhouse kick, and Matt comes off the top to take both men down. Frankie shoves Daniels out of the way and SCU gets Celebrity Rehab. Mike with a cradle on Frankie for two, but Matt is tossed and Best Meltzer Ever gets the victory at 9:18. Very good face/face battle. ***

TOMORROW!

  • FTR and Tully Blanchard face Jurassic Exzpress!
  • Paul Wight is here!
  • Max Caster vs Preston Vance to see who makes the ladder match!
  • MJF and Jericho have a press conference!
  • Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet vs Jade Cargill and SHAQ!

Okay, if you were hanging around this morning, you’d know I was in a bad mood and undersold this show. Becaused WOW did it deliver! I have nothing to add to it this week other than “can we get more like this?” At just under two hours and with no match going too long (except MAYBE Chuck Taylor’s), you had some TV-quality matches played out on the Internet. What a way to kick off a huge week for AEW!

STATS

BELL-TO-BELL – 77:01 over fourteen matches (average time 5:30)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – The main event, but there were a ton of contenders

FIVE STARS:

  1. Top Flight
  2. Frankie Kazarian
  3. Ivelisse/Diamante
  4. Stu Grayson
  5. FIRST WIN: Aaron Solow

See you at the Crossroads, so you won’t be lonely…